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Luís Tinoco

Chamber Works

Release Date 2005

Catalogue No. LNT121

Music by:

Luís Tinoco

Performed by:

Odaline de la Martínez (conductor)
Eileen Hulse (soprano)

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Maria Augusta Gonçalves, JORNAL DE LETRAS

The Essence of Landscapes

Think of Luís Tinoco's music as a painting full of color and movement. His expression likes challenges. It develops concepts and, if necessary, subverts them, disturbs them. He works instruments as if he found identities. Sounds converse, confront each other, expand, contract, overlap, move apart. If a musical work could have an immediate correspondence in a painting, it would be with Luís Tinoco. It would be said, then, that he is one of the best contemporary plastic artists. He is, of course, one of the most important composers to emerge in the last decade.

Music is nothing more than music. And this is much more than it might seem. In new music, perception risks not being immediate. Luís Tinoco has in his favor an extraordinary good taste and an immense generosity. His expression acquires density and becomes more and more incisive and refined. It is a language that seeks the essence of images, the richness of contrasts and opens up spaces of freedom. "I'm always careful not to impose anything personal," he said in an interview with JL , on August 3, 2005. "I'm much happier if people build their own memory."

Luís Tinoco has a new record. It brings together works for chamber ensembles, composed between 1998 and 2004, and was recorded at the initiative of the Ensemble Lontano, by conductor Odaline de la Martínez, founder of the London Chamber Orchestra, and the first woman to conduct at the Promenade Concerts. For the first time, it is possible to see the composer's path through a substantial set of works, edited simultaneously. All of them have had public presentations, in Portugal or abroad; many were awarded. This is the case of Antipode, composed in 2000 for the Unesco Young Composers Forum. The fact that the premiere took place in Australia, on the other side of the world, imposed on Luís Tinoco the need to work on two contrasting parses that develop and merge in a single gesture. The duality inherent to living matter, the combination of contrasts and the subtle color progressions that sustain them, are a determining factor in his work.

Three Poems from the East, coming from Clepsydra, by Camilo Pessanha, are another example. They explore the poet's musicality and the apparent and vital confrontation of the text itself: the East-West dualism, the fundamental role of death in the nature of life, the passage of time and the movement of water. Pessanha's symbolism offers everything a composer could want. Luís Tinoco takes advantage of every moment, 'weaving' a process of voice integration in the instrumental ensemble. The three poems were premiered in Lisbon, in 2003, and are sung here in the French version, by the soprano Eileen Hulse, taking advantage of Christine Pâris-Montech's translation of the writer's work.

Forgotten Places, from 1998, appeals to elements of memory. The character is defined in the exploration of textures and in the subtlety of the 'musical movement' throughout the four parts, which culminates in the magnificent meeting of the piano with the strings, marking distances and overcoming them, almost simultaneously. A similar treatment can be seen in the 1999 Sundance Sequence, although it prefigures a separate, very different case for 11 instruments. At the outset there is an amusing story of escape and liberation, but the humor is a serious case. 'Drama' allows for premonitions of danger, risk-taking, shadow play, lots of light. In between, it is possible to exorcise ghosts and find some of the most fascinating places in contemporary music in the base materials. For example: Rituel, by Pierre Boulez, who 'merges' into a 'happy ending' in the Hollywood style. Everything is processed with elegance, imposing the wind instruments and making the strings evolve around them.

Short Cuts and Invention on Landscape are the two other works on the CD. The first combines the idea of ​​shortcut, the quickest way to get from one place to another, and the definition of precise sections in the speech, considering the possibility of taking the 'sound gesture' to the essential. Short Cuts was composed for saxophones and recorded by the Apollo Quartet, in 2004. Now the movement is extended to three clarinets, tenor saxophone, two vibraphones, marimba and piano. Invention on Landscape, at the end of the CD,  explores the notion of space, another determining element in the composer's work. It is an ever-present notion, marked by an internal dialogue, a wandering and the path that opens, by design, allowing those who listen to discover the essence of their own landscapes.

The CD was released in the UK, in November, and will be distributed nationwide in the second week of March. The Portuguese release coincides with the premiere of Tales Fantánticos, the latest work by Luís Tinoco - three movements on three stories by 'Monty Python' Terry Jones: 'The Fast Road', 'Three Raindrops' and 'Thomas and the Dinosaur' (ed. Presença). The work will be performed by the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, under the direction of Cesário Costa, at the Teatro de São Luiz, from the 10th to the 19th of March. The first performance is dedicated to school children, as well as the performances from the 15th to the 17th. On weekends, concerts are for children of all ages.

Robert Matthew-Walker, MUSICAL OPINION

Luís Tinoco is a contemporary Portuguese composer, born in 1969, whose music I confess I had not encountered until receiving this CD. He is clearly a composer of highly imaginative gifts and technical skill and few listeners will be able to resist wanting to hear a work such as Sundance Sequence, inspired by the escape some years ago of two pigs, nicknamed by the press as ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, who fled from a slaughterhouse near London. They were ‘on the run’ for about a week and when finally captured their lives were spared. Tinoco has written a fascinating musical sequence on this story. Sundance was the last pig to be caught, which I enjoyed hearing.

Tinoco’s other, more seriously intentioned compositions on this CD are none the less equally assured in their coloration and control of timbre and time, and I have been much taken with the composer’s naturally expressed mastery of his material in these works. Each of them are, it seems to me, very well written, never pushing the instruments beyond their capabilities and full of a delight in composition that betokens a genuine artist. Lontano’s performances throughout, under the unique Odaline de la Martínez, are breathtakingly assured, especially those of the songs by Eileen Hulse, and all in all, I recommend this record highly. I should really like to hear more of Luís Tinoco’s music.

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